Scaled down S4 design, Bright screen, Excellent camera
As for those wondering whether they should buy the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini instead of the Samsung Galaxy S3, truly that is something that you will have to decide for yourself. But the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini more than makes a case for itself, with the upgraded software, decent battery life and 4G tech more than giving the Samsung Galaxy S3 a run for its money.
Looks like its bigger brother but fits in the hand better
The Galaxy S4 mini is a great mid-range option, offering the same styling - which includes the same mediocre build quality - as its flagship counterpart, with a cheaper price tag. The cameras are good but the screen and storage are both under par. Consider the HTC One mini or the Nexus 4 as serious alternatives.
Fantastic styling, nice size, great screen
The Mini remains a solidly built, likeable and surprisingly capable phone. TouchWiz and the included apps are, for us, not exactly welcome these days - we'd prefer a more "Google" look, but there is so much extra functionality here with Samsung's services that we can't argue that these customisations aren't necessary.
Fits great in the hand, Nice screen
The Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini is a little frustrating. It has the pieces to make it an affordable alternative to some of the gargantuan top-tier phones, but it falls short of the mark.
It's not, as the name suggest, simply a mini version of the Samsung Galaxy 4, but a completely different phone with wildly different specs and the only part that's the same is the plastic-fuelled design. The wait for a really good small screened Android phone continues.
Handles 3D games flawlessly, Great call quality
There is no such thing as a perfect smartphone, and the Sony Xperia SP won't be the one to break that rule. However, looking at its pros and cons after testing it extensively, we can confidently conclude that its a mid-range smartphone worthy of attention. It is a capable multimedia device suitable for those who want the benefits associated with high-end devices ??
Lower price, Impressive specs
Although not blessed with the looks or specs of the Xperia Z, the Sony Xperia SP is a phone that still deserves a raised eyebrow of appreciation thanks to the combination of spec list and likely price.
The body is smooth and feels quality in the hand, and while the screen is slightly dwarfed by the larger chassis, there's no doubt this is a phone that could fly off the shelves if enough people get fed up with the notion of spending loads of money each month on a handset.
Beautiful and well-built
Sony is doing the right thing by offering a midrange smartphone hot on the heels of their two flagships. Last year, HTC had a similar thing going on with the One X and the One S but failed to capitalize on the width they had through those two excellent devices. We're yet to see whether or not Sony will do better but if you're looking for a capable smartphone in the 300 euro range, the Xperia SP should be high on your short list.
Excellent range of connectivity options
The Xperia SP is a very likeable mid-range phone. It's reasonably powerful for the price, has a stellar line up of features and looks pretty fly too. However, Sony needs to iron out a few quirks in its software, and the phone's battery life isn't quite as impressive as specs would suggest.
An impressive mid-range Android smartphone
The Sony Xperia SP has the spec and price of a mid-range Android smartphone, but when you actually get the device in your hands and start using it any ideas of it being mediocre go out of the window. It really is a class act, so if you're looking for a good phone to browse the web, perform tasks quickly and take decent photos with at a price that won't break the bank, then you really should consider the Xperia SP.
Nice design, frame feels solid in the hand
The Sony Xperia SP is a good mid-range phone. There's power and flexibility on board and there's the performance to back it up, aside from a few minor quirks.
The design of the handset is good too with the metal frame giving the SP a nice solid feel. We're not sold on the flashing bar however, it just seems a little too much at times, especially when you're lying awake at night, watching it illuminate your bedroom.
The camera performance isn't great.
Great design, able to change colors of LED alerts
The Xperia SP could have been a great smartphone with its solid build and great design. However, the poor display and camera performance lets the phone down. Retailing at S$598 in Singapore, the handset seems aggressively priced, especially against the HTC One SV (which has a street price of around S$500 but lower specs). The smartphone will also make its way to other parts of Asia, though Sony has yet to release further information.
Good physical QWERTY keyboard
The BlackBerry Q10 is every inch a BlackBerry. It has the traditional BB form-factor and, more importantly - the physical QWERTY keyboard that's coveted by so many BlackBerry fans. This, however, is a device that's exclusively targeted at existing BlackBerry users, we don't think the Q10 is capable of attracting new ones.
As a niche smartphone, the BlackBerry Q10 is a pretty decent performer. It can do anything a diehard BlackBerry user would want it to do and more.
Full physical keyboard, Impressive web speeds
Without doubt the BlackBerry Q10 is the best QWERTY keyboard smartphone on the market, which is certainly a bold claim - until you consider, what other high-end smartphones are sporting a full-on keyboard these days? Exactly.
It may be the best, but it's the best of one. People will buy the Q10 for its QWERTY keyboard, it's a business tool and in that arena it excels.
Easy phone to appreciate
In terms of where the market is heading and where BlackBerry want to be, we cannot help the thought that they'd rather have the Z10, and its successors, up there with the best than keep the messenger concept on life support. On the other hand, it's QWERTY messengers that have shaped the company's identity. It's a tough one, finding the right balance between what the market wants and respect of tradition.
Provide snappy performance for touches
BlackBerry's Q10 is filled with many creative features but its ultimate success will come down to one basic question: Do you want a qwerty device? I don't think the era of the qwerty is over, since I have met users who prefer a physical keyboard. But they are in the definite minority.
Excellent hardware QWERTY keyboard, long battery life
The BlackBerry Q10 brings the traditional BlackBerry smartphone into the modern age. I suspect it's enough to make BlackBerry loyalists happy, though I doubt iPhone and Android users will flock to it (that was the BlackBerry Z10's job). It's fast, stable, and secure and it maintains enough of the UI conventions of older BlackBerry smartphones to make existing BlackBerry owners feel a bit less lost.
Design, improved camera, some nice UI features
In summary, we like the BlackBerry Q10 because it embodies those things that we love best about BlackBerry. We like the design and the keyboard experience, but beyond that communication experience, there's little that's unique and BB10 is still some way behind rival offerings.
Good physical keyboard
Nevertheless, folks who absolutely must have a hardware keyboard should be happy with a BlackBerry Q5. Chances are they won't be able to find a better alternative anyway, other than the pricier BlackBerry Q10. Those who don't need one, on the other hand, better look elsewhere. The HTC Windows Phone 8X and the Nokia Lumia 720, for example, are both good, compact phones that also runs a platform as fluid and responsive as BB10.
Fast web browser, HD screen
The BlackBerry Q5 is one for the aficionados who can't afford, or refuse to splash cash on the highly priced Q10, with the solid BlackBerry typing experience at the heart of everything it does.
Without knowing the price it's difficult to say how it will stand up against other handsets, but anyone who isn't a BlackBerry fan and is in the market for a reasonably priced smartphone probably won't be taken with the Q5.
Cheap BlackBerry 10 phone with keyboard is a mixed bag
It's a mixed bag when it comes to the BlackBerry Q5. It's cheaper than both the BlackBerry Q10 and Z10 and a lot of its hardware specs are better than we expected. However, build quality isn't inspiring and while BlackBerry 10 is smooth with good features, a shortage of apps remains a downfall.
Poor camera, small screen
If you're a legacy user of BlackBerry and are itching to get a slice of BlackBerry 10 without committing a huge slice of money, then the Q5 won't disappoint. If you're just in the market for an affordable and functional smartphone though, there's plenty of other options that offer more for less.
Most affordable route to BB10
All these things, the slightly sluggish performance, the generic design and a price that's not all that compelling make the BlackBerry Q5 a smartphone that's difficult to get excited about. It's not without merit, but it doesn't feel like the cheap and cheerful Curve replacement we want it to be.
Boasts a full QWERTY keyboard
With two high-end devices already out it makes sense that BlackBerry would return to its established emerging markets and make a phone that would be deemed "affordable".
What will be most interesting however is seeing just how affordable it really is, sporting many of the same specs as the Q10 many users could be in for a shock when BlackBerry does finally release pricing information.
Likeable design, Great screen quality
Nokia has covered pretty much all price points with its Lumias, with the 520 and 620 being even cheaper, but if you plan on going that way, keep in mind that you are going to get what you're paying for. We also don't encourage you to purchase the Lumia 820, because it simply lacks the finesse of the 720. Yes, it has a slightly better processor and a bit more RAM, but specs don't really matter much when real-life performance speaks otherwise.
Slick OS, Good camera, Attractive design
We really like the Nokia Lumia 720, it's a great all round smartphone and while it doesn't do enough for us to love it, we would seriously recommend it.
It falls into a difficult place in the market with strong competition from the Samsung Galaxy S3 mini and HTC One S, but both of those handsets are getting on a bit and the Lumia 720 has the vitality of youth in its favour.
Widest aperture on a phone yet
The Nokia Lumia 720 may be some of the best work we've seen from the Finns recently - not a pricy best-of-the-best flagship, but an affordable, well-built phone that packs more than enough features to get users interested. It has its nagging flaws, but as an overall package it's hard to beat.
Higher-end features without a massive display
In some ways, the Lumia 720 is everything we've asked for from Nokia. It's slickly designed and has superlative battery life, the camera out-performs rivals in the same price bracket, and the screen - though lower resolution than we like - is a nice compromise of size, outdoor usability, and general clarity.
Thin and light for a mid-range device
First and foremost, there's no denying that the Samsung Galaxy S II Plus is a capable and well-made mid-range smartphone. It has preserved many of the traits that made the 2-year-old Galaxy S II land in the pockets of over 40 million people worldwide, such as the slim profile, the great performance, and the high-grade camera gracing its back.
But at the same time, we can't hide our disappointment from the fact that there's nothing to justify the "Plus" in the smartphone's title.
Jelly Bean out of the box
The Galaxy S II Plus is a solid, if not spectacular, smartphone. Its dual-core chipset is good enough for the WVGA screen, while the latest version of TouchWiz adds plenty of cool tricks to the already feature-rich Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It may not be stuff from your dreams, but it's shaping to be a reasonable package that can get a lot of work done
High-contrast AMOLED screen, Smooth user interface
The bottom line is; the S2 Plus has clearly earned its purchase recommendation, even if the current price of 300 Euros (~$390) is definitely not a bargain. Consequently, the Nexus 4 remains to be the unchallenged star in the Android camp for enthusiasts who place particular importance on the latest hardware (at least in this price category).
Resistant to dust and water damage
Let's be serious, people. The Sony Xperia acro S may not be the best smartphone out there, but it is the ultimate water-resistant Android handset that money can buy outside of Japan. Sure, we cannot deny that it is a bit bulky and its capacitive keys are kind of tricky to use, but its flaws are greatly outnumbered by its advantages, such as the catchy design, high-resolution display, capable camera, and rich multimedia feature set.
Good camera, Great array of multimedia apps
Sony certainly hit its stride in 2012, hitting on a solid and unique looking design ID for its smartphone products. The Acro S falls in line with the rest of the family in this regard, but fails to really stand out from the pack, too.
Having a rugged option is good, but there are trade-offs in size and weight to make, and if you don't feel like you're at risk of destroying your phone, then you'd be better off choosing an Xperia S, or something from Samsung or HTC instead.
Very solid smartphone
In conclusion, the Sony Xperia acro S is a very solid smartphone. It didn't manage to beat non-water-resistant smartphones at their own game (which is too much to ask of any such smartphone, realistically speaking), but it does the task it was created to do quite splendidly. Here's hoping that Sony will take good care of it and issue an Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update in a timely manner.
Great outdoor phone
This phone finally looked promising combining a rugged design with solid performance. Its specifications are exactly what I wanted: a good processor, a lot of ram, decent battery runtime, microSD slot and even Ant+ support (for heart rate monitors etc.).
I especially like the feeling that everything is well thought through, for instance the charging dock, to preserve the water protection of the USB port.
Homogeneous screen illumination
Sony's Xperia Acro S wants to merge completely different areas. On the one hand, it is to be a multimedia device with all modern features and on the other, it has to fulfill the requirements of an outdoor sport device. The question remains whether an athlete wants to do sports with an almost 150 gram (~0.33 pounds), 4.3-inch smartphone. Looking at things separately, it meets all the requirements because the installed hardware is more than adequate and passed all executed performance tests.
Water-proof and dust-proof
The Sony Xperia Acro S separates itself from the pack by offering features that other flagship handset can only dream of water-proof and dust-proof. It's the perfect handset to bring to the beach or on a trek to the rapids of Cagayan de Oro, probably even for surfing.
Consistent smooth performance
Oh BlackBerry! We had some serious high hopes with this smartphone, well, more with the new platform of course. In the US, it isn't going to arrive until March, where it'll be sporting that golden price of $200 with a 2-year contract. First impressions are key, right? Well, we can't say that the BlackBerry 10 is a darling of a gem with its design, which is a shame to tell you the truth, since solid industrial designs can really be the first line of defense to garner some attention.
Great web browsing
The Z10 is a decent smartphone offering up a strong range of features and a fancy new operating system that may catch the eye of the technologically adventurous.
It does pretty much everything we'd expect from a high-end device and there are no major flaws to go running to the presses about.
That said, the Z10 also lacks any killer selling points.
Well-designed, solid device with sleek design
BlackBerry is keen to shake off the old image and the Z10 couldn't have been farther away from being a phone for suits. Don't get us wrong, it can handle business tasks and even do it better than old BlackBerries. But finally users - and we mean all kinds of users - will be getting a full-time deal. And in modern smartphone terms, this is well beyond the usual nine-to-five.
Convention-defying multi-tasking centric homepage
It's still a little early to fully judge the BlackBerry Z10 as it could be the case that a few quick software updates and a flurry of new apps quickly put it strongly into contention. However, as it stands it comes up a little short.
On the hardware front BlackBerry hasn't done much wrong. The design is a little dull and the plastic back a tad cheap looking but overall it's a smart looking device that despite being a black plastic slab actually manages to stand out from the crowd.
Hardware is reasonable
The design and build quality of the Z10 just makes it seem like a cheap plastic iPhone to us. Hardware is reasonable with the screen being the stand out feature and the BlackBerry 10 software makes this the most attractive BlackBerry smartphone to date. However, given the price, the iPhone or a decent Android handset is still a preferable option.
Fast, stable, attractive smartphone that's pocket friendly
The BlackBerry Z10 is an excellent first step, and we're impressed with BlackBerry OS 10's speed, stability and breadth of features. It feels like a mature OS relative to other smartphone operating systems at first launch. The Z10 itself is an attractive piece of hardware and it feels great in the hand. For those who want a phone first and something that's small enough to operate one-handed, it has strong appeal.
Phenomenal price point
Specs-wise, the Google Nexus 4 is an impressive smartphone. Sure, it may not be the best in any particular category, but it's a very well-balanced package with an incredibly powerful processor and a gorgeous IPS screen. When it comes to its design, we do appreciate some of the delicacies of its premium exterior elements, but it doesn't really come off as something totally invigorating to cause us to drool over it.
Beautiful, elegant design, Excellent screen
Giving a handset on TechRadar a full five star rating is almost impossible. You could have the best phone in the world that can solve famine, pick the kids up from school and decipher Mandarin Chinese in a millisecond.
But it's not just about specs - value plays a huge part to play. A five star rating is reserved for a phone that we would say you should go out and buy pronto. Right now. Immediately.
The Nexus 4 comes SO close to that, it's unreal.
Performance and features of a high-end smartphone for half the price
As long as the storage capacities suffice, the Nexus 4 is the definition of a bargain. You quite simply get the performance and features of a high-end smartphone for half the price you would expect to pay. Unless you're set on an iPhone, the Nexus 4 is an unbeatable deal.
Budget friendly Android smartphone
If you're looking for a budget friendly Android smartphone with high end features, the Google Nexus 4 certainly is it. It's fast, has an excellent IPS display and is sold unlocked for use with any GSM carrier. The only drawback in the US? No LTE 4G. The Nexus 4's other problem is availability; it's been out of stock since introduction.
Looks good for a ruggedized phone
Like eating a Yorkie while driving an 18 wheeler, using the Cat B15 just makes you feel that bit more manly. In fact there are plenty more reasons to like this phone as it looks good by ruggedized standards, comes with the silky smooth Jelly Bean Android OS and has a half decent camera and good battery life. However, its spec is a bit disappointing given its relatively high price tag and the way the battery sometimes pops out when it's dropped onto a hard surface is a bit worrying.
Bulky, no 4G, dim screen with muted colors
The CAT B15 is a perfect fit for someone with an active lifestyle or a job working on a construction site if durability is your one and only concern. The CAT B15 stands out from other durable phones because of its touch-based smartphone functionality, making it a good option for those in fieldwork. However, other smartphone buyers might prefer a handset that looks nicer, with improved performance, connectivity and camera capabilities.
Sturdy, solid design
The CAT B15 is a niche handset and, as such, is very easy to pin down for a verdict. It's unquestionably one of the best rugged handsets we've looked at and will stand up to the rigours of outdoor usage whatever the weather. The inclusion of Jelly Bean and the versatility of the Google Play store give the B15 scope for customisation, and basic necessities like Bluetooth and GPS are included.
Water, dust and shock proof
The CAT B15 is water, dust and shock proof, but unlike some tough phones it boasts a 4-inch touchscreen and Android Jelly Bean software. It's strong enough to put up with a tough life on a building site, while letting you enjoy apps and games from the Google Play store when you've finished constructing things.
Very solid build, Dual SIM support
Caterpillar clearly thinks there's a point in continuing to update its line of rugged hands, but I'm not so sure that plan makes sense. These days, mainstream handset makers do rugged quite well, and Caterpillar needs to offer more than they do in order to compete successfully.
Rugged phone which can withstand water, falls - and a dog's appetite
The B15 is never going to be a mass market phone - and will pose no threat to the world's leading manufacturers. That said, it absolutely has a place in the market - albeit niche. Whilst builders and construction workers are ultimately the key target, the CAT phone has enough about it to appease anyone simply after a device which they can rely upon, whatever the environment.
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